It’s a coincidence of timing that this issue of CityBeat contains a news article about a recent panel discussion on “the vanishing middle class.” People familiar with the topic probably already know one of the article’s salient points: Although worker productivity has increased significantly since the mid-1970s, wages for many workers have remained flat or even dropped in inflation-adjusted dollars. The people benefiting from the increased productivity are the wealthiest one-fifth of Americans, who saw their share of income increase. Most of us are working harder but we’re not reaping the fruits of our labor.
If anyone is to blame for the controversy over why Councilman Chris Bortz ignored an Ohio Ethics Commission advisory opinion regarding his votes on the city's streetcar plan, it's Bortz himself. Why ask for an opinion at all if he wasn't going to follow it? And once the opinion has been issued, it would be better to come clean about it rather than wait for the slow burn of its release almost a year later, which makes the whole affair look sordid.
While much of the local media attention during the past several days was focused on Cincinnati City Council's vote to approve $2.58 million for the proposed streetcar system, another controversy involving the long-discussed project was brewing that went barely noticed.